James McBride discusses his latest book, Deacon King Kong, with Sam Sanders at NPR, as well as the the importance of writing without regard for other people’s expectations. “I don’t think you can write books if you worry about what people think and what they’re going to say,” McBride says. “You know, the craft of putting together a story with a kind of complicated matter that is involved in story structure, you know, in a 300- or 350-page book, it’s too complicated to worry about whether someone’s going to say this […] You have a purpose to do something. You don’t choose writing. Writing chooses you.”
At The New Republic, Andrew Wylie talks about how he made millions off strictly “highbrow” fiction, a category which (for those who are curious) does not include the works of James Michener and the late Tom Clancy. Wylie — whose clients include Philip Roth, Martin Amis and Mary Gaitskill — suggests that a modern literary agency “needs to be able to expand infinitely, like a Borgesian library.”
“The notebook is where our interior world makes contact with our exterior world; where our instinct for creation is first made material. Our notebooks are our first messy attempts at self-expression, and the ways in which we express ourselves are changing every day.” Sarah Gerard explores the life of the notebook in an essay for Hazlitt. Pair with our own Hannah Gersen‘s look at other methods writers use to keep their ideas straight, from calendars to collages.